North Korea's Latest ICBM Broke Up on Re-entry

Randolph Lopez
December 6, 2017

The missile marked North Korea's third ICBM launch this year, and experts believe the missile is able to strike anywhere in the continental U.S.

North Korea's missile testing, which is often conducted without prior notice as required under global agreements, has caused some concern for commercial airlines.

"Today. the crew of CX893 reported, 'Be advised, we witnessed the [North Korean] missile blow up and fall apart near our current location,'" Hoey said, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. "Operation remained normal and was not affected", the statement said. "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".

North Korean missile tests in the past several months have led to tensions with the USA, as President Donald Trump has made multiple threats against the rogue nation and its leader Kim Jong-un, whom Trump has deemed "little rocket man".

Korean Air said it was unclear how far the apparent missile re-entry was from its own planes, whose flights originated in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

North Korea's last missile launch marked a major evolution in the communist country's ballistic missile program.

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It also claimed the Hwasong-15 missile fired Wednesday can be tipped with a "super-large heavy warhead" capable of striking the whole USA mainland. The aircraft was reported en route from San Francisco to Hong Kong when the ballistic missile was spotted re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

But analysts note the missile would require a re-entry vehicle that could withstand the heat and pressure of descent to deliver an intact nuclear warhead to the ground.

North Korean state media condemned the exercise, saying the USA was "begging for nuclear war" and will push the region "to the brink of nuclear war", the BBC reported. But he said that while such missiles posed a danger to commercial flights, the risk was "low in terms of probability". "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world".

In response to the launch, President Trump said the United States will "take care of it".

He said that the Security Bureau and Civil Aviation Department should establish a panel to work with officials with South Korea, Japan and Russian Federation, for better intelligence sharing over related military movements, the Morning Post wrote.

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